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Chipotle names four new board directors

Shakeup comes after agreement with activist investor

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. on Friday named four new board members in an agreement with Pershing Square Capital Management that gives the activist investor and its CEO, Bill Ackman, substantial influence over the future of the company.

The company named Paul Cappuccio, general counsel at Time Warner, Robin Hickenlooper, senior vice president of corporate development at Liberty Global, Ali Namvar, partner with Pershing Square, and Matthew Paull, former CFO at McDonald’s Corp.

The new directors will make up one third of the 12-person board.

“Chipotle has enjoyed extraordinary success for most of our 23-year history, and it is important to us that we structure the company to enjoy similar success in the future," Steve Ells, Chipotle’s CEO, said in a statement. “The addition of these new directors strengthens our Board of Directors, and gives us the oversight, accountability and leadership we need as we continue our efforts to reestablish Chipotle as the leader we have been for much of our history.”

The announcement comes days after Chipotle’s co-CEO, Monty Moran, stepped down and Ells took sole reins at the company he founded.

A series of foodborne illness outbreaks last year dramatically hurt same-store sales at the fast-casual burrito chain, which has struggled to lure back customers ever since despite numerous efforts. The company’s stock price, which at one point last year exceeded $750 per share, has largely been cut in half.

Pershing Square and Ackman stepped in this summer and own nearly 10 percent of the company’s shares, and at an investor meeting last week Ells promised a shakeup.

Ackman, for his part, is happy with the appointments. “We are pleased that Chipotle has taken the important step of refreshing its board, which will position the company for continued growth and long-term success,” Ackman said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the board and management to create sustained value for all shareholders for many years to come.”

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter at @jonathanmaze

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